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Survey probes impact of horse flu on Australia

November 15, 2007

An online survey exploring the effects of the equine influenza outbreak has been developed by the University of Western Sydney.

The Australian Horse Industry Council (AHIC) is urging horse owners to participate in the survey so authorities have a better grasp on the impact of the disease outbreak.

"Equine influenza came unannounced into Australia three months ago," said AHIC president Dr Barry Smyth.

"In that short time it has caused significant disruption to the normal horse industry activities of spring, and this is likely to continue to some degree through the coming summer into 2008. The aim is to have the disease eradicated from Australia before mid 2008.

"As a result many livelihoods and activities have been turned upside down. The economic costs will be inestimable, and the human cost hidden and difficult to quantify.

"To assist the horse industry to calculate an idea of the effects of disruption caused by the EI emergency, the University of Western Sydney has put together a survey to enable horse industry participants to provide data about their experiences during the past 3 months."

The survey is anonymous, he said.

"The results will be used to inform industry and government about the flow-on effects of an emergency disease outbreak in Australia. There have been similar studies in other countries, and results from this study will enable some comparisons with those other studies.



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